Machida vs. Shogun

The main event of UFC 104 is for the Light Heavyweight Championship between champion Lyoto Machida and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.

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Machida enters the fight as the favorite with a betting line of -500 with Rua given a line of +350 according to online sports book SPORTSBETTING.com. Here is a closer look at both fighters heading into this main event bout, which will take place from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif. at 10PM ET on pay-per-view.
Lyoto Machida (15-0):
Strengths
: The Light Heavyweight champion is undefeated and is perhaps best known for his ability to avoid taking damage. Machida has truly brought a karate fighting style to the UFC and has driven his opponents crazy with it. A counter-striker, Machida forces his opponents to chase him and leave themselves open while he fires lightning-fast punches and kicks that slowly breakdown his foes. Adding to his strikes is a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu that makes him dangerous on the ground as well. Machida is 7-0 in the octagon but has really come on with his fighting as of late, finishing three of his last four opponents. His brutal knockout of Rashad Evans at UFC 98 was Evans’ first career loss.
Weaknesses: It is hard to say what Machida’s weakness is because we have yet to see one. The only criticism early in his UFC career was his inability to finish fighters, making for long, drawn-out, and boring fights. That isn’t the case now, as Machida has really refined his strikes and put a lot more power in his punching. The only hole in Machida’s game may be his striking inside a guard, as he was almost submitted by Tito Ortiz at UFC 84 while in guard. Machida fares much better on his feet than he does on the ground.
Last Five Fights:
Second round KO win over Rashad Evans at UFC 98 on May 23, 2009
First round KO win over Thiago Silva at UFC 94 on Jan. 31, 2009
Unanimous decision win over Tito Ortiz at UFC 84 on May 24, 2008
Second round submission win over Ramwau Thierry Sokoudjou at UFC 79 on Dec. 29, 2007
Unanimous decision win over Kazuhiro Nakamura at UFC 76 on Sept. 22, 2007
 
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (18-3):
Strengths: Rua is a relentless striker that likes to control the pacing of the fight. His greatest success came in Pride, where he used unorthodox striking and muay thai to defeat some of the best fighters in the world. Rua has knockout power in his hands and his feet. His KO win over Chuck Liddell showed what he is capable of.
Weaknesses: Rua has not shown the kind of conditioning that is needed to be champion. Poor condition led to his submission loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 76 and his poor performance in a TKO win over Mark Coleman at UFC 93. Rua has overcome two knee surgeries in the last decade and seems to be getting his conditioning where it needs to be. Rua has also seemed to have trouble transitioning his fighting style from Pride to the UFC. In Pride, Rua was able to win a lot of fights with stomps to the head and soccer kicks, both of which are not allowed in the UFC. His savage style of fighting is what made him so dangerous in Pride and maybe what is keeping him from winning in the UFC.
Last Five Fights:
First round KO win over Chuck Liddell at UFC 97 on April 18, 2009
Third round TKO win over Mark Coleman at UFC 93 on Jan. 17, 2009
Third round submission loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 76 on Sept. 22, 2007
First round KO win over Alistair Overeem at Pride 33 on Feb. 24, 2007
Unanimous decision win over Kazuhiro Nakamura at Pride Shockwave 2006 on Dec. 31, 2006
 
Who will win: Rua’s style plays right into Machida’s hands as Rua likes to press his opponents and Machida likes to be pressed so he can counter-attack. Rua can land a strike that Machida isn’t prepared for, but Machida seems to be fighting at another level right now. Expect Rua to get to the later rounds and start to fatigue, which will open him up to a barrage from Machida. Look for the champion to retain by TKO in the third round.
Additional Line: Over/Under 11.5 minutes for fight length. Over (-200) Under (+150).
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Posted: 10/21/09 7:28PM ET

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